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Annato, Lipstick Plant
Scientific Name: Bixa orellana L.
Synonym:
Family: Bixaceae
Annato, Lipstick Plant (Bixa  orellana)
A Lipstick Plant at the New York Botanical Garden
Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 10-12

Frost Tolerance: Tender in Phoenix

Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade

Origin: Americas

Growth Habits: Tree up to 20 feet tall (6 m)

Watering Needs: Regular water

Propagation: Easily by cuttings. Trees grown from seeds take longer to bloom


The Annatto is a shrub or small tree native to the West Indies and to South America. The reddish veined, heart shaped leaves and the showy flowers borne on terminal panicles give it value as an ornamental. Although it doesn't produce an edible fruit, the annatto is widely grown for the orange-red pulp that covers the seeds. The annatto dye, which is prepared by stirring the seeds in water, is used to color butter and cheese. It is also widely used in Latin America to color rice and other foods. In the Philippines, the seeds are ground and used as a condiment.

Annato, Lipstick Plant (Bixa  orellana)

Blooming Habits:
The annatto blooms pretty young (around 2 years old) and the 3-inch flowers (7 cm) are pink or white and have many stamens.

Fruiting Habits:
The heart-shaped scarlet fruits turn brown or reddish brown at maturity, and are covered with short stiff hairs. When fully mature, the fruit split open exposing the numerous seeds.

(Adapted from an USDA miscellaneous publications.)

Propagation:
The annatto can be propagated by cuttings of mature wood and by seeds.


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.